Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Why I like to keep all the books I have read | The Small Desk

I still vividly remember being in year six at primary school and having a diary where you had pages in the front and back where you had to list all the books you'd read over the year. I remember having 12 in total at the end of the year. I was really happy with this and couldn't believe I'd read so much, but then I saw my friend's list and it was over 30, if not 40. I wasn't so much upset by this but merely perplexed. I just couldn't understand how someone could read so many books over the course of a year. To be honest, I still can't. I am still a very slow reader and really struggle to read more than 20 pages in one sitting.

When I first when to school and was learning to write I used to write the letters backwards: the letters were in the right order, just all back to front, mirror writing my Mum describes it as. I've never found it easy to read or write. I've always found it something I've had to really work on and try, try again. I know it's the skill everyone gets taught at school, and it's meant to be the 'core' skill that you then build upon, but for me it's a skill I've always struggled with and the more I think about it the more I realise this is probably the reason I am where I am today.

Today I'm an editor and as part of my job I proofread and correct other people's writing. I write myself, I commission people to write and I read, a lot. If someone told my parents I would end up as an editor when I was at school doing mirror writing, they would have laughed! I think because I haven't found it easy it's sort of given me an obsession to try and improve on both. Sometimes when I read I feel I really have to concentrate otherwise the words are just a jumble. I need to have silence to read and I can't casually read. I need to decide I'm going to have a period of time where I read and have no distractions. I've never been tested for dyslexia but I expect I probably have a mild version of it.

I love to read how other people write and see other people's writing skills, but for me it is a massive achievement to finish a book because I don't find it easy. You will see I've started keeping a record of the books I've read on the About section of my blog, and I keep a lot of the books I've read as sort of trophies to remind me of my reading achievements.

They say that if you want to be a writer, write, and this blog has definitely helped me with that. I know I am not a perfect writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy it and I hope to enjoy reading more. I think it's also true to say if you want to be a writer, read.

Does anyone else struggle? Have you found any methods or blog posts that have helped you?


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